Last week, as we celebrated the 55th birthday of our independence as a country, the Central Bank of Kenya launched a new currency look. The new look saw to it that we got rid of former presidents’ portraits and instead celebrate our biggest pride which is wildlife. The move sent a lot of mixed reactions online which became a national topic.
It is difficult to imagine, but a little over a century ago, our continent was more jungle than it was civilization. Our ancestors shared the country in equal proportions with the wildlife. Then came the civilization, urbanisation and modernisation that squeezed the wildlife to their designed fenced locations as we grew in numbers and improved in technology.
Prominent Ideas from the New Currency Look.
- Tourism is a major source of income – Around other continents, the general feeling is that we take breakfast with giraffes and get tied up on traffic by Lions. Many people come to the country to have a Kenyan wildlife experience and it is documented that the country makes about 120 billion Kenyan Shillings annually from tourism. It would, therefore, be logical, that the currency the tourists use while here enhances their experience. Furthermore, most people carry notes back to their countries as souvenirs, it will also be a marketing strategy.
- We are not forgetting our founding fathers – It would seem like we are turning our backs on our founding fathers but consider this, we have roads, airports, streets and avenues in different cities all over the country to keep the memory of our founders.
- A contribution to national unity – Considering the country has more than forty-two tribes, it would be possible that having a single portrait from a single community represent an entire country’s currency to be quite illogical. On the other hand, wildlife is ours, all of us. We have its splendour in our court of arms together with the intrepidity of Mount Kenya, having it in our currency as well would be a major contribution to national unity.
- Compels the need for Wildlife conservation – For decades wildlife in Kenya and all over the continent has suffered the brutal hands of poachers. The UN Chronicle explains that before the foundation of the Kenya Wildlife Service, poaching had reached catastrophic levels in East Africa. Displaying our pride and fierce adoration for our wildlife might not bring them back, but it will make us more conscious about preserving our wildlife.
- A reminder to take care of the environment – Wildlife highly depends on the environment. We have had cases where elephants act ‘crazy’ and trample on everything on their path in what experts have called ‘stress’. We are taking too much of their feeding lands and water wells, and they are getting agitated. Maybe what we need is to be reminded every time that we share this planet with other animals that have rights just as we have rights.
Talking about conservation, here is how we need to save our Elephants and Rhinos